What's better than pork? More pork. And that's why this is what you should be serving for Easter this year: Molasses-Glazed Ham with Bacon Red Eye Gravy.
The recipe is a National Pork Board creation, so its double-pig-dipping makes sense. They were looking to give a classic Easter meal a fresh twist, and inspired by bacon's popularity, chose it to highlight the ham. The result is full of intense flavors that don't fight each other: salty, smoky and sweet are equal partners, while a hint of bitterness and herbaceous freshness accent the dominant tastes.
Oh, and it's easy too. You're really only embellishing and warming an already-cooked ham, and the gravy, the serious star here, comes together quickly and can be made a day ahead.
So get everyone all dolled up, get to church, snap some pics and then let the fam snack on the sweets in their Easter baskets while the ham cooks and you whip up the gravy and sides.
Here are my suggestions. The gravy is begging for some mashed potatoes to smother, and biscuits are needed for sopping. Oh, and something green will make the plate prettier. Simple steamed asparagus or green beans will do the trick and don't detract from the main players.
Molasses-Glazed Ham with Bacon Red Eye Gravy
6 to 8 pound fully cooked bone-in ham
1/3 cup molasses (unsulfered NOT blackstrap)
For Bacon Red Eye Gravy
1/2 half pound bacon, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup bacon fat (from cooking the bacon)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped shallot
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of flour
1 1/2 cups brewed coffee (not dark roast) at room temperature
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (reduced-sodium)
3 tablespoons molasses (unsulfured, NOT blackstrap)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
salt and fresh-ground pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven.
Line the bottom of a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil.
Score a diamond pattern into the ham, about 1/3-inch deep. Place the ham, flat side down, in the pan. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. on a meat thermometer, 15 to 18 minutes per pound. During the last 30 minutes of baking time, brush the ham with 1/3 cup of the molasses. Remove ham from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and let rest 10 minutes.
For Bacon Red-Eye Gravy: In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain and cool. Measure and reserve 1/4 cup bacon fat, and discard remaining fat. Coarsely chop bacon and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat bacon fat over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in flour and let bubble without browning for 1 minute. Gradually stir in coffee and broth, followed by remaining 3 tablespoons molasses and thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until the sauce has reduced slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and cayenne. (The sauce can be made up to 1 day ahead. Reheat in a saucepan or microwave oven before serving.) Just before serving, stir in bacon. Makes about 3 cups sauce.
Carve ham and serve with sauce.
Makes 15-20 4-ounce servings.